The Creative Scientist.
I have often felt like a square peg in a round hole (or more accurately a swirling deep whirlpool in a shallow pond) and I think that some of that has to stem from the fact that people find it hard to imagine creativity and science existing together.
This is the story of me, the creative scientist.
My earliest memories of childhood involve me pretending to be a doctor or nurse, of lying in the middle of the street watching the stars and trying to work out what they all meant, of dipping my hands into our pond to capture the tadpoles so that I could watch them become frogs, of pretending to get lost in the forest amongst the mossy banks, the bluebells and the tall and mysterious trees. I was going to be a scientist, I was BORN to be a scientist, science was my thing and I was encouraged to see myself as a future science success! Aim high, the sky is the limit, you can do ANYTHING, the world is your oyster (a teacher actually wrote that on one of my high school reports which was kind of neat….)
I found that exciting!
My identity as the ‘science one’ was re-inforced everywhere I went and that was good as I just couldn’t get enough science during my childhood years but looking back I can see how that early identity has come back to bite me as a fully formed adult.
You see at high school there were groups of people – science kids, sporty kids, arty kids, drama-rama and dancers, naughty kids, good-at-everything-ers, activists etc.
The groups didn’t have blurred edges and while it was OK to ‘like’ a few of those things you really had to choose and ‘live’ just one. Anyone read the Divergent trilogy?
The realisation that the mindset of having to choose just one path in life was just that, a mindset, an idea and nothing more has only just become apparent to me and that is what I want to share.
Most of my own personal angst at not quite fitting in has been magnified by me clinging onto this high school vision based on these narrow stereotypes. I can’t quite believe that I fell for it for so long but well, at least I finally woke up!
My ‘problem’ is that I am creative, I am highly creative and I see the world, science and life in what I have grown to understand is an interesting and quite useful way. I see solutions that others don’t, see opportunities, potential pitfalls, alternative routes and fun in situations that are lost on others. I am not your average scientist and my science doesn’t create your average results.
This morning I read an article from the Huffington Post Blog: ’18 things highly creative people do differently’ that was Tweeted by my friend and fellow creative mind Brambleberry AKA Soap Queen and I finally thought ‘yes, this is exactly it, this is how I live. This is why people can’t always work me out, this is why I can’t always work myself out. This is good, no great!’
I am sharing this with you because I understand how tough life can be for those of us that sit far, far outside of life’s stereotypes.
I understand that one can waste many years trying to work out how to suppress ones instincts, to suck it up, comply, fit in and be more ‘normal’.
I also understand that there is no such thing as normal.
and I am eternally thankful for that!
I am a creative scientist, what is your problem?